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Goodbye Gender Roles

On a free Sunday, many of us sit in front of our televisions the entire day and watch many advertisements in between the news or drama serials. While most conform to the gender roles that have been created by our society, there are some that break the norms and hence, they stick in our memory. While brands do this to gain praise from the audience that will consequently consume the given product, the positive message being delivered sets a new precedent.


For example, Eva Cooking Oil’s latest advertisement with a hashtag “men can cook” reinforces this idea that gender roles are unnecessary and its time that we change them.




It’s not a woman’s job to always cook and look after her family. A man can cook, take care of his wife and on top of everything he can be self-sufficient. He does not need a woman to make food for him – he can make it for himself and even for the women in the household. There should be no shame in doing household chore such as cooking.


Moreover, the advertisement calls out the toxic idea of how men are considered to be strong, and that is why they have to face all problems head on and are not allowed to cry. However, crying should not be seen as a weakness and men should not be forced to avoid their emotions like those of sadness only because of their gender. They should be taught that they can embrace such emotions and give in to them while simultaneously also taking on some of the burdens that women typically have to bear for a healthier and happier lifestyle.


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This was a really great piece of writing, Natalia! I also made a similar post where I highlighted some extremely problematic advertisements that continue to build up on ideas of gender discrimination and sexism. While conducting my background research, I realized that a lot of these adverts, especially locally produced Pakistani campaigns, all have had recurring themes running on our televisions for at least over a decade now. All cooking oil ads have to show a woman trying to cook to impress her husband or in-laws, whereas all laundry detergent ads absolutely have some sort of need to show a woman doing the laundry for the entire household. These are some extremely troubling ideas and should definitely be looked up…

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Ads are a very strong platform for sending in signals, and it is really nice to see a cooking oil ad that doesn't involve a wedding or the whole community dancing, and rather portrays a stereotypes that has been common in Pakistan and may cause problem. A lot of us are dictated by these stereotypes, and they end up shaping our personalities. which brings more emphasis on such advertisements. Apart from power relations alone, many of the men who want to pursue culinary school would not be supported by their parents due to misogynistic views like men should work on the streets.

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24020242
24020242
Dec 11, 2022

I think it's interesting that you point out how media serves as an important tool for reinforcing and reflecting how gender roles are structured in society. In many ways, I think this also reflects Gill's idea of the neo-bohemian model of mass media, that presents it as an informal, egalitarian space. In many ways, through ads that challenge and subvert gender roles in society (with the kitchen being seen as the domain of women primarily), I think we can also think about how the politics of the private (or the home) is also subject to ideas that are perpetuated in the media. These narratives then can also be seen as something that permeates down to a very individual, and personalized…

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I think you've excellently highlighted the role of media in reinforcing perspectives that can be damaging for society at large. Interesting to note is this idea of caricatures that the media cements in society particularly ideals that become benchmarks/standards for what a lot women can or can not be in the performance, as Butler puts it, of gender. This interlinkage of Butler's idea is ironic because whilst advertising performs a particular gender role for women in society which they need to model, it is interesting how media presents it as natural and fixed when its fluid and diverging. Media erases this construct of the gender role being a mere performance, as Butler puts it, and it exemplifies Mulvey's argument about…

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As an audience of Pakistani media we have always seen protagonist women confined to household chores. In such circumstances, watching an advertisement that particularly pinpoints the stereotypical definition of a man and using it to eradicate gender roles that repress both genders in one way or another is a delight for the audience.

Perhaps it's a reminder that self-sufficiency does not come with gender but comes from simply being an independent person. Such advertisements must get the praise and limelight it deserves. However, one hopes that this doesn't become a trend used by every brand as bait just to attract customers, the essence behind it must not be lost.

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